Things You Need for Book Events

Santa Dave of #thesantaconnection at Winterfair, Hartford, Connecticut

Before I did my first book event last year, I Googled “what do I need for a book event?” and found a very helpful list. This year, as I participated in quite a few holiday markets and book events, I discovered that the very helpful list was incomplete.

For purposes of this post, I’m assuming that you don’t want to spend a fortune and that you’re going to be singularly responsible for transporting everything to and from the event. (If you have buckets of money to devote to your event and/or a spouse or significant other who’s willing to haul your stuff around, good for you.)

Based on my experience, here’s what you need for a simple event or holiday market, in no particular order:

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Pulling Weeds

Some people love to weed their gardens. From what I’ve read, they derive a deep satisfaction from getting their hands in the dirt and ousting the weeds that threaten their flowers and vegetables.

And then there are people like me, who will pull a few weeds if it occurs to us, but are otherwise inclined to live and let live. After all, what is a weed but volunteer plant that is simply misplaced? Besides, some volunteer plants are good. Every year, I end up with at least a couple foxgloves that I didn’t plant, the seeds dropped by some passing bird. The one time I tried to plant foxgloves, they died almost immediately, but the volunteers are hardier, their flowers lasting for days at a time.

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Ta-Da!

Danny and Draft #1

If you’d asked earlier this week, I’d have told you it wasn’t going to happen. I was resigned to it. I figured I’d finish when I finished, and everyone would just have to be patient. In fact, I was ready to write a blog post about how it feels when you set a goal and you just don’t reach it.

Then came Saturday.

Mind you, I had plans. My house desperately needs to be vacuumed and dusted. I have stacks of papers, magazines, and documents on practically every flat surface. The clutter is embarrassing. The dust is probably unhealthy (especially for someone with asthma). So my plan for today was to vacuum, dust, and put things away. A noble plan, to be sure.

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Sh*tty First Drafts

Photo credit: Denny Müller on Unsplash

I’ve got a problem.

Okay, not a major problem. Not compared to what some people are dealing with this week. But it’s a problem for me.

My book is all over the place.

It’s my own fault. I’m the one who started writing random pieces here and there, figuring they’d eventually fall into place. It’s always worked before. But this time, the story is resisting.

Last weekend, I had the privilege of participating in the Connecticut Book Festival. Except for the brief period when I read from State v. Claus, I spent the day sitting at my book table, chatting with anyone who came over.

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Slogging Toward Success

Two years ago, I wrote a story entitled, “The Women in the Club.” It was about the family of a man who committed a heinous crime. The story felt a bit edgier than what I normally write, but I believed the topic was worth talking about. My writing group loved it.

I began to send it out both as a regular submission and a contest entry. Every time it was rejected, I edited again to see if I could make it just a bit tighter, sharper, clearer.

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The Season of Crazy-Busyness

Photo credit: H. Newberry on Pixabay

Personally, I blame the school year.

Like so many, I grew up with the school-year routine: after a summer of fun and relaxation, work begins in the fall, continues through the winter (albeit with a couple of breaks), and wraps up in late spring. Even though we non-educators don’t actually get the summer off (other than an isolated vacation day, or maybe a cherished week or two if we’re very lucky), there’s still the sense that life slows down in the summer, only to ramp up in late August in anticipation of a return to the over-full schedule of classes, sports, rehearsals, homework, commitments, subscription series—not to mention resumption of all the tasks and deadlines that we pushed to the side while our colleagues and clients were away and we basked in the peace of their absence.

Hence, the Season of Crazy-Busyness.

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The Joy of Deadlines

Photo by LouAnn Clark on Pixabay

The summer is slipping away. In a mere few weeks, students will return to school for the fall semester. Here in the U.S., the arrival of Labor Day (first Monday in September) signals the unofficial end of summer and the official return to the usual hectic pace of the rest of the year.

For me, this summer has felt unusually long. Beginning as it did with my father’s death on the day after Memorial Day—coincidentally, the unofficial start to the summer—June was consumed mainly with the logistics of the memorial service, estate management, and working out a new Mom-care routine. As June slipped into July, my mind turned slowly to other matters, such as my novel-in-progress and my billable workload which, as in the past, lightened in the summer. I discovered the town pools and embarked on a semi-regular routine of swimming a few times a week. I signed up on several occasions to distribute vegetables after church, a simple task that requires nothing more rinsing off what has been harvested from the church garden and spreading the harvest on a table out by Farmington Avenue so anyone who wishes can enjoy garden-fresh produce.

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Keeping On

Photo credit: Fabien WI on Unsplash

Yesterday, I finished the #1000wordsofsummer 2022 challenge. Today, I was fully prepared to sit down at my desk and do billable work, just as I should.

Instead, I brought my breakfast and my Surface out to the porch, and I worked on my novel-in-progress.

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#1000wordsofsummer 2022, Day Fourteen

Photo credit: Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

And that’s a wrap, folks.

Somewhat unbelievably, I did it. In spite of major personal challenges that offered me every reason in the world to quit—or simply not to start in the first place—I finished this year’s #1000wordsofsummer challenge.

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#1000wordsofsummer 2022, Day Thirteen

Photo credit: Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, the temperature was in the mid-eighties, and I had the air conditioner on as I wrote inside. Today, it’s 64F plus a periodic strong breeze. I’m back to writing on the porch, but this time I’m wearing a sweatshirt and my tea has long since gone cold.

Ah, well. The writing is coming, and that’s what counts.

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